1.21.2014

Book review - Quiet

Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking.



I think everyone should read this book. Introverts, ambiverts, and extroverts alike. The United Stated is a very extroverted place and extroversion is rewarded. Extroversion can be found everywhere, from Tony Robbins life coaching, to the shape of our political system, your office workplace, right down to the halls of your high school. The section on the Harvard Business School alone is an incredible insight. Sorry my extrovert friends, but you crashed the economy. High extroversion often leads to risk taking. Not necessarily bad, but in the case of gambling with other people's money and homes, yes it is.

I've known for a very long time that I am an introvert. I've always thought that it was just the way I was and I had to live with it. I've gone through my life just accepting that some things were not for me because I don't have the right personality. Author Susan Cain spends a fair amount of time sorting through the characteristics of introversion and gives a wealth of suggestions on how these traits can be turned into strengths, or at least managed. I have always liked sinking my teeth into a solitary project, the hours flying by without any notice at all. Cain has given me pause to think about how I am or am not using that in my daily life. I'd be well suited to try to find jobs and hobbies that play to the strength.

Although I've long known I was an introvert, I never really thought about how the rest of the world treated me because of that. Some people think introversion is a mental illness, or that we're anti-social. Beyond that, the whole path of success in America is slanted to extroversion. Not only am I not a natural schmoozer, it takes an enormous amount of mental energy to make myself do it when I have to. I'd much rather be the mad scientist tinkering in my lab, but the world has no place for tinkers. Cain goes to great lengths to try to bridge the extro-intro worlds, but there is definitely a part of me that wants to get in the extro world's face and yell "this is how I am, don't dismiss me!" Still working on the diplomacy thing.

The author also brings up the concept of being and HSP: Highly Sensitive Person. I've never heard this term before, but I clearly am one. 70% of introverts are HSPs. If you're sensitive to loud sounds, bright lights, strong smells, and get more emotional than most over, say, a sad movie, you are probably an HSP. Knowing this now also gives me more insight to how I react to the world around me.

This book also has informative sections on being the parent of an introvert, teaching introverts, and on learning to adopt some extrovert skills. If there's an introvert in your life, listen a little more. Be a little more patient. Still waters run deep.